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Author Topic: Need help on CAP attack on U-boat info  (Read 9741 times)
AlaskanCFI
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Dragonfly Aero
« on: December 07, 2006, 10:55:41 PM »

Does anyone have the dates, location and any other info about the two U-boats reported to have been sunk by CAP crews during WWII??

I have read the basic accounts in several places. 
NOW, I have a person who doubts it ever happened giving me a hard time. 

So I would like your help blowing her out of the water

xxx

Fixed tags - MIKE
« Last Edit: December 08, 2006, 12:53:52 AM by MIKE » Report to moderator   Logged
Major, Squadron Commander Stan-Eval..Instructor Pilot- Alaska Wing CAP
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DNall
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2006, 11:33:38 PM »

There's dates in the history of CAP booklet avail on the national website. I want to say May 11, 43 or 44, but don't quote me on that. The Asst National Historian has some comments under the announcements area. PM him & I'm sure he'd be happy to provide detailed info, including where the public records can be found. The first two Air Medals ever awarded were to CAP members, and I believe they were the crew involved, but again I'm not the guy to be quoting.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2006, 12:53:17 AM »

The first 2 air medals went to Maj. Hugh Sharp and Lt. Edmond Edwards for rescuing the crew of a CAP plane that crashed into the ocean.  From CAP Historical Monograph Number 2. 
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ELTHunter
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2006, 01:20:04 AM »

There's dates in the history of CAP booklet avail on the national website. I want to say May 11, 43 or 44,

I don't think CAP was still doing anti-sub work in 44, were they?
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Maj. Tim Waddell, CAP
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DNall
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2006, 02:44:06 AM »

Didn't I just say don't quote me?  ;D PM the historian & get the right info. 
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AlaskanCFI
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Dragonfly Aero
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2006, 03:18:12 AM »

I sent him an e-mail. 
This is kinda interesting as it shows the mood of the times...
this came from a site about Ernest Hemmingway who cruised around looking for U-boats in his yacht.

In the first few months of the war the Navy was critically short of patrol and escort vessels and long-range patrol aircraft, had no escort aircraft carriers for convoys, and indeed had no plans for convoys. The Army Air Forces, charged with antisubmarine warfare (ASW) in the Atlantic (until the Navy would take over that responsibility on September 1, 1943), also lacked adequate numbers of medium and long-range patrol planes. Needing help desperately, both services turned to the private sector. The Navy absorbed the Coast Guard, which had organized the civilian Coast Guard Auxiliary a month before Pearl Harbor, and in May 1942 began to form a Coastal Picket Fleet of small private craft and their owners. Its people came first from the Auxiliary then later were directly recruited. By December the fleet numbered more than 2,000 former civilian yachts and other vessels. Equipped with radio, ASW devices, and armament, the pickets made and tracked sonar contacts, investigated gunfire and oil slicks, alerted convoys to the presence of U-boats, and rescued survivors of sinkings. Those wooden boats on occasion also dropped depth charges on their steel adversaries (Willoughby 21, 76). Boats in a flotilla that the Navy sent from the Florida Keys to visit Havana in early 1942 were noted to have depth charges that looked like 50-gallon gasoline drums lashed to their sterns (Briggs 56).

    A week before the war began the Army Air Forces also organized an auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). On March 8, 1942, CAP pilots began flying their own planes on patrol out over coastal waters, working with the AAF from stations that eventually numbered 21, Maine to Texas.
    Those operations succeeded and before long the pickets, the short-range CAP patrols, and wide-ranging AAF and Navy air patrols had wrought a noticeable reduction in U-boat capabilities by forcing them to stay submerged in daytime, operating on the surface only on the darkest nights.
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Major, Squadron Commander Stan-Eval..Instructor Pilot- Alaska Wing CAP
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floridacyclist
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2006, 04:30:43 AM »

If you can find a copy of "From Maine to Mexico" in your library, I seem to recall it mentioning the specific incidents.
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Gene Floyd, Capt CAP
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2006, 03:44:18 PM »

Check out the book Shadow Divers:

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Divers-Americans-Everything-Mysteries/dp/0375508589

Not only is it a good read, it features a lot of background on CAP U-Boat action during the war, including some names of current members on the East coast who are still working to authenticate a 3rd kill.

It also looks like it will be a movie soon:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0466328/
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ELTHunter
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2006, 05:05:36 PM »

Check out the book Shadow Divers:

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Divers-Americans-Everything-Mysteries/dp/0375508589

Not only is it a good read, it features a lot of background on CAP U-Boat action during the war, including some names of current members on the East coast who are still working to authenticate a 3rd kill.

It also looks like it will be a movie soon:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0466328/

Very good book, I read it too.  I'll look forward to the movie.
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Maj. Tim Waddell, CAP
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Dragonfly Aero
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2006, 06:24:55 AM »

Actually it's one of the minor characters in the book who is questioning our old sub chasers acomplishments. So I was looking for better info. 
From what I have so far,  the July 11, 1942 date of an aerial attack off the Coast of New jersey does not look so promising.  At least not as far as an actual sinking.   The only known sub wreck in that area, was sunk in 1945.
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Major, Squadron Commander Stan-Eval..Instructor Pilot- Alaska Wing CAP
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fyrfitrmedic
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2006, 02:31:41 PM »

Actually it's one of the minor characters in the book who is questioning our old sub chasers acomplishments. So I was looking for better info. 
From what I have so far,  the July 11, 1942 date of an aerial attack off the Coast of New jersey does not look so promising.  At least not as far as an actual sinking.   The only known sub wreck in that area, was sunk in 1945.

 IIRC, another sub wreck was discovered off the NJ coast a few years back.
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MAJ Tony Rowley CAP
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JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2006, 04:52:28 PM »

The newly-discovered sub wreck, I'm pretty sure, is OURS.

The "historians" who have been researching this have been checking Navy and Army records, which do not include CAP operations.  Remember, until the decision was made by Hap Arnold to arm the CAP planes, CAP was part of Civil Defense.  We were declared to be the Auxiliary of the Army Air Corps and put in uniform only to qualify our members as beligerents under the Geneva Convention, should any be captured.  Record-keeping for historical use was pretty low on the "To-do" list in 1943.

IIRC, the fact that that attack resulted in a sinking may raise our total to three sub kills.  I believe it had been recorded as "Damaged" in the past.
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Another former CAP officer
AlaskanCFI
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Dragonfly Aero
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2006, 06:55:53 AM »

I was just trying to get a firm set of dates.  Nobody WANTS to believe more than I do.... But firm data seems to be scarce.


I found one mention of a possible date for the first attack (supposed sinking) of  July 11, 1942, starting about 25 miles off Absecon New Jersey.
It was a Widgeon with two 325 pound depth charges. (the same type of plane and depth charges that the Coast Guard claimed a kill for 50 years against the U-166 which unfortunately was recently disproved)

Anyway: Subs found in that area.
The wreck of what is believed to be the U-869 was discovered just a few miles further out from this point.  But it was not build until 1944 and was sunk Feb 11, 1945 by small destroyers manned by Coast Guard crews. Who thought they were depth charging a wreck.

The U-521 was sunk about 90 miles south of that area on 06-12-43.

The U-879 was sunk on 04/30/1945 about 154 miles south.

The U-85 sank about 219 miles south on 04/14/42

The U-202 and the U-752 were operating in that area a few weeks before, but escaped.

The U -576 was sunk  down off Cape Hatteras 4 days later. (July 15, 1942) The experienced U-boat Capitan decided to surface during daylight and attack the middle of a small convoy.   He sunk one and seriously damaged two ships before being shot, depth bombed and possibly rammed.
I have always wondered if he made such an attack because his U-boat was already damaged  from CAP depth charges 4 days  before his last battle.  It would explain making a suicide surface attack.
It would have taken him 3 days at standard (s.o.p.) speeds to make it from the New Jersey siting area to Cape Hatteras.   His logs would have been lost, so there would be no available record of an aerial attack.
 

Anyway it's a possibility....
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Major, Squadron Commander Stan-Eval..Instructor Pilot- Alaska Wing CAP
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Al Sayre
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2006, 12:20:25 PM »

My father was a Squadron Commander at Lantana Fl (Coastal Patrol Base 3) in the '50's, when a lot of the Subchasers were still around.  I met quite a few of them when I was growing up in the 60's and remember hearing their stories, especially about about a guy named Ted Keys who supposedly shacked a 50 lb bomb down the conning tower of a German Sub that was stuck on a sandbar off of Lantana FL.  The sub stayed on the bar till the early-mid 60's when it was washed off by a hurricane into about 60' depth.  I have talked to people who used to scuba dive on it, and last I heard it was at about 120' depth around 2 miles east of the Lantana Bridge.  You could probably talk to Owen Gassaway at Florida Airmotive, he's still around, and was one of the mechanics for the Coastal Patrol Base.
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Lt Col Al Sayre
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2006, 12:59:01 PM »

In the Florida Historical Quarterly (Spring 1998) there was an article about Florida's Coastal Patrol Bases that implies that some of the heaviest U-boat activity was off Florida.  The article references a source document by CY Nanney that is the base history of Coastal Patrol #5.  Sadly, while I've seen this document referenced in numerous locations before, I've never been able to track down a copy--nor have most of the other CAP historians I've spoken with.

The link for the FL article, which is a great read, can be found here:
http://fulltext6.fcla.edu/DLData/CF/FullText/fhq_76_4.txt

I've sent a note to the Florida Historical Quarterly's editor in the hopes of getting permission to post the article to our Wing history site, but also seeking contact info on the article's author, Thomas Reilly, to see if I can obtain a copy of the base history that way.

If anyone else has access to a copy of the history, or other ideas I can track it down, please let me know.

I really wish we could get some help from National in getting historical materials digitized and available on the web.  Then they would be available to all as a resource, and wouldn't run the risk of being lost again.  The other key document I'm looking for is "Civil Air Patrol History, Organization, and Purpose," January 21, 1948" if anyone has some hints on that one....
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Peter J. Turecek, Major, CAP
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BillB
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« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2006, 01:37:23 PM »

Next week when the students leave at the end of the semester, I can go by the University of Florida Archives and get a copy of the 1998 Florida Historical Quarterly and photocopy it.
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Gil Robb Wilson # 19
Gil Robb Wilson # 104
AlaskanCFI
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Dragonfly Aero
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2006, 09:06:53 PM »

Thanks for the info about the Lantana connection.  there were a few ships sunk by the U-564 right in that area during may 1942.


On 3rd May 1942 he sank the British 7,174 ton Ocean Venus.
On 4th May 1942 he damaged the British 9,767 ton Eclipse.
On 5th May 1942 he damaged the American 3,478 ton Delisle.
On 8th May 1942 he sank the American 6,078 ton Ohioan.
On 9th May 1942 he sank the Panamanian 7,138 ton Lubrafol.
On 14th May 1942 he sank the 4,000 ton Potrero del Llano

The U-564 escaped that area and was later sunk off the coast of Spain.

The dive sites show no U-boat wrecks in that area... There is one off the Florida Keys.  The U-157 wich was a type IXC.  Sunk on June 13, 1942 by a small Coast Guard patrol craft.  At least that is who got the credit.
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Major, Squadron Commander Stan-Eval..Instructor Pilot- Alaska Wing CAP
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AlaskanCFI
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Dragonfly Aero
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2006, 10:33:50 PM »

More for you Florida guys:::::and Gals   :::::

Over the first seven months of 1942, the Germans sank nearly 400 vessels, including more than thirty-five ships off Florida.
The most dramatic sinking in Florida waters took place the night of April 10, 1942, when U-123 torpedoed the tanker Gulfamerica off Jacksonville Beach. The resulting fiery explosion was clearly seen onshore and curious crowds gathered to view the ship's destruction and looked on in shock as the German submarine surfaced and fired its deck gun at the tanker. In response to the Gulfamerica sinking, in which nineteen crew members were lost, Governor Spessard Holland ordered a blackout of lights that could be seen at sea and might silhouette passing ships.

The number of sinkings declined dramatically in the fall of 1942 due to increased escort and anti-submarine patrols by ships and blimps of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, as well as by Civil Air Patrol aircraft and private vessels. The continued presence of U-boats in Florida waters was confirmed, however, by the shooting down of an American military blimp by a German submarine in waters off the Florida Keys in July 1943.

German Saboteurs in Florida:

Florida became the scene of a bizarre plot in June 1942 when four saboteurs came ashore from German submarine U-584 near Ponte Vedra Beach. They buried boxes of explosives and other equipment in the dunes for future use. The men then boarded a bus for Jacksonville, before splitting into two groups that traveled to New York and Chicago. The agents were to join with four other saboteurs, who had landed on New York's Long Island, and then planned to bomb key railroads, bridges and factories producing goods for the war. Fortunately, one of the New York band had misgivings about his mission and surrendered them to the FBI. By June 27 all of the men had been apprehended. A military court later tried the eight Germans and found them guilty of spying. Six of the spies, including all of the Florida group, were executed.

 
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Major, Squadron Commander Stan-Eval..Instructor Pilot- Alaska Wing CAP
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AlaskanCFI
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Dragonfly Aero
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2006, 10:47:48 PM »

MORE FOR YOU FLORIDA GALS AND GUYS:::


PBers part of tribute today for 'first line of defense'

By DAVID ROGERS
Daily News Staff Writer

Friday, December 01, 2006


 
 
(enlarge photo)
Lt. James P. Donahue was a Palm Beach resident who served in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II.
 
 
 
(enlarge photo)
Lt. Wiley Reynolds Jr.
Told his son that German officers snuck into Palm Beach.
 
 
On Dec. 1, 1941, just days before Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor hastened the United States' entry into World War II, the U.S. government formed the Civil Air Patrol to help safeguard vessels along the East and Gulf coasts from German submarine attacks and mines.

A number of Palm Beach residents, including Wiley Reynolds Jr.; his cousin, Harry Hood Bassett; Woolworth heir James P. Donahue; Marshall "Doc" Rinker; Charles Munn Jr.; Ector C. Munn and Gurnee Munn, served as pilots and observers with Coastal Patrol 3.

From April 1942 to Aug. 31, 1943, members of CP-3 flew single-engine planes from Palm Beach County to Cape Canaveral, observing the waters below for U-boats, communicating with the U.S. military as needed and, on occasion, bombing suspected submarines.

The unit was based for a few months at Morrison Field, now the site of Palm Beach International Airport, then moved to its current headquarters at the Lantana Airport.

To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, the Historical Society of Palm Beach County will unveil a historical marker at CAP headquarters at 10 a.m. today.

The Historical Society, along with the Palm Beach County Department of Airports, submitted the application for the historic marker to the Florida Division of Historical Resources.

The young men who served as pilots and observers "were our first line of defense," said Debi Murray, the society's director of research and archives. The state's national guard was unable to perform that task because it was needed for the war effort.

"Since the military wasn't ready to protect the eastern shores of America, they set up the Civil Air Patrol to do that," Murray said. The Palm Beach County-based unit was the third unit established in the United States.

"They kept the submarines down," Murray said. "These (German) submarines had a limited amount of torpedoes; they liked to do most of their damage on the surface with deck guns. So when the Civil Air Patrol was in the air, they had to submerge."

During a CAP flight in May 1942, Rinker and Tom Manning spotted a German U-boat. The submarine was trapped for about an hour on a sandbar, but was able to escape before Army Air Corps bombers arrived. That led Washington to authorize CAP planes to be fitted with bombs, Murray said.

The small plane Reynolds used, a Stinson Reliant, had fabric-

covered wings. It could only travel about 100 mph when Reynolds, observer Owen Gassaway and its one bomb were on board, Wiley Reynolds III said Thursday from his Colorado Springs, Colo., home.

His father, a former president of First National Bank of Palm Beach, died in late 2005.

The younger Reynolds was born not long after Wiley Reynolds Jr.'s service with CAP ended. He said his dad told him that German officers snuck into Palm Beach more than once after dark to steal caviar, wine and other delicacies from a grocery store said to have been located near Town Hall.

One time, his father ditched his plane in the ocean after an engine failure. "Ditching means making as best a landing as you can" in an emergency, the younger Reynolds said.

The Stinson quickly sank, and Reynolds cringed at the sight of a huge shark beneath him, his son said. "He was terrified for a moment until he realized it was the life raft," Reynolds said. A fishing boat operator witnessed the crash and rescued the team.

Reynolds said his father and others joined the Civil Air Patrol because it was the patriotic thing to do. Many went on to join the military. "That was the spirit of the day, to defend your country," Reynolds said.

Joining Gassaway at today's ceremony will be surviving CP-3 members Charlie Weeks Jr. and David Thompson.

Weeks said he joined the Civil Air Patrol to serve his country while being able to fly. During the war, most civilian aircraft were grounded. "I just couldn't get enough of it," said Weeks, a West Palm resident.

"We flew underpowered planes that were carrying bombs out as far as 30 miles to the east, and north to what is now Patrick Air Force Base" near Cocoa Beach, Weeks said. "It was really a hazardous activity, but being young I didn't even give it a thought."

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Major, Squadron Commander Stan-Eval..Instructor Pilot- Alaska Wing CAP
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MIKE
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2006, 03:38:29 AM »

Capt Clark, it would be better if you posted only some of the article and linked to the rest instead of posting it in it's entirety.  Fair use and all.
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Mike Johnston
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